A Travel Price Comparison for Turkey Ankara vs. Istanbul for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Ankara or Istanbul?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Ankara and Istanbul. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Ankara or Istanbul?


Located at the heart of Turkey near Central Anatolia, Ankara is the capital city and second largest city in the country after Istanbul. Formerly known for its long-haired goats and textiles, the city has since developed into a metropolitan mix of modern cultures with historic landmarks.


Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

Which place is cheaper, Istanbul or Ankara?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Ankara is $131, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $142. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ankara and Istanbul in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ankara $64
    Istanbul $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ankara $128
    Istanbul $108
Compare Hotels in Ankara and Istanbul

Looking for a hotel in Ankara or Istanbul? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Ankara

Hotels in Istanbul

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Ankara Hotel Prices and Istanbul Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ankara $42
    Istanbul $62
Typical Local Transportation prices in Ankara

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Ankara:

  • Metro Ride
  • Short Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ankara

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ankara:

  • Airport transfer: $18
  • Private transfer: Ankara Airport (ESB) to Ankara: $40
  • Private transfer: Ankara to Ankara Airport (ESB): $40
  • Ankara Airport Private Arrival Transfer: $51
  • Ankara Airport Private Departure Transfer: $51
  • Ankara Esenboga Airport to Ankara City Hotels Private Arrival Transfer: $67
  • Ankara Esenboga Airport transfers to Ankara City Center (Cankaya,Kizilay) Hotels: $72
  • From:Ankara Esenboğa Airport/To:City Center,Private Transfer: $72
  • Ankara Esenboğa Airport From/To City Center Private Transfer: $72
  • Private Transfers Between Ankara Esenboga Airport - Ankara City Centre: $75
  • Ankara City Center (Cankaya,Kizilay) Hotels to Ankara Esenboga Airport transfers: $78
  • Private Transfer from Ankara Esenboga Airport (ESB) to Central Ankara: $111

Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:

  • Ferry
  • Local Bus

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Airport Private Arrival Transfer with Meet & Greet: $43
  • Istanbul Airport Private Transfer to the City : $30
  • Istanbul Airport Transfer by Private Minivan + Meet & Greet Service: $85
  • Istanbul Cruise Port(Galataport) Private Transfer Service: $29
  • Istanbul Princes’ Islands Guided Tour | Transfer & Lunch Included : $66
  • Private Airport Transfer in Istanbul: $111
  • 1-Way Private Transfer to/from Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $66
  • 2-Hour Private Luxury Yacht Cruise on Bosphorus with Transfers: $850
  • 4-Day Istanbul City Package including Full-Day Istanbul City Tour plus Airport Transfers: $490
  • 4-Day Wonderful Istanbul Including Accommodation Plus Transfer: $474
  • Airport - Otel Transfer and City Tours: $20
  • Airport Transfer: $59

Is it cheaper to fly into Ankara or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Ankara change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Ankara $37
    Istanbul $35
Typical Food prices in Ankara

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Ankara:

  • A Quick Lunch

Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:

  • Juice
  • Turkish Delight
  • Dessert
  • Pastries

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Dinner Cruise and Entertainment with Private Table: $18
  • İstanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Traditional Turkish Show: $20
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Tour With Turkish Night Show: $21
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show: $22
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise , Unlimited Drinks & Shows: $22
  • Bosphorus Luxury Catamaran Cruise with Dinner Show: $22
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise with Dinner & Entertainment: $23
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table: $23
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with All inclusive Dinner and Belly-Dancer Show : $27
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Folklore Show & Belly Dancers: $27
  • Dinner Cruise Bosphorus with Hotel Transfer: $28
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise: $28

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ankara $38
    Istanbul $89
Typical Entertainment prices in Ankara

Here are a few typical costs in Ankara for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:

  • Underground City

Tours and Activities in Ankara

Here are a few actual costs in Ankara for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Quick Tour, Essentials of Ankara: $6.00
  • Private Tour with a Local: $38
  • Private Guided Walking Tour in Ankara: $55
  • Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Topkapi Palace: $145
  • Istanbul: Golden Horn & Bosphorus Day Cruise: $165
  • İstanbul: Full-Day Tour with Grand Bazaar: $180
  • Private Tour: Ankara Sightseeing: $190
  • Ankara Private Walking Tour with a Professional Guide: $222
  • Private Tour of Historical Ankara City: $242
  • From Private Cappadocia & Underground City Tour: $345
  • Daily Hattusas / Boğazköy Tour: $358
  • Full-Day Highlights of Cappadocia Tour: $450

Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:

  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
  • Hagia Sofia entrance

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.28
  • Kadikoy's history, theatres and sweet shops: a self-guided audio tour: $5.00
  • Istanbul Sites: Peel back the layers of Turkish history a self-guided audio tour: $5.40
  • Hagia Sophia Exclusive Digital Audio Guided Tour: $5.47
  • Highlights Self Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $5.47
  • Hagia Sophia Tours /Skip The Lines: $5.54
  • Private Guided Walking Tour in Istanbul: $5.99
  • Istanbul Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.00
  • Turkey: Tourist eSIM Data Plan: $6.55
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.57
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a : $6.65
  • The Magnificent Hagia Sophia Tour: $6.65

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ankara $17
    Istanbul $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Pub Crawl Big Nightout . Rooftop parties,party Bus & Nightlife: $22
  • Famous Istanbul Pub Crawl #1 Nightlife Experience: $27
  • Party Pub Crawl with Party Bus: $27
  • Drunk TourIST - Istanbul Pub Crawl: $27
  • #1 Rated Istanbul Party Pub Crawl w Party Bus/Sultanahmet&Taksim: $28
  • Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl: Big Night Out: $33
  • Istanbul Wine Tasting at Home with Local Family: $88
  • Istanbul Wine Tasting at Home with Local Family: $94
  • 2-Day Wine Tasting Tour along the Thracian Wine Route: $180
  • Istanbul Private Wine Tasting Tour Through 3 City Wineries : $282
  • Guided, Food and Wine Tasting Tour in Istanbul : $300
  • Full-Day Wine Tour from Istanbul: $353

When comparing the travel costs between Ankara and Istanbul, we can see that Istanbul is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Which is Bigger, Ankara or Istanbul?

Istanbul is bigger, and its population is about 3.2 times larger than the population of Ankara. When comparing the population of Ankara vs. Istanbul, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit and the activities that interest you.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
Share This Page
Pin This Page
Ankara vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.